LA Lakers Insider: D’Angelo Russell on Verge of Breakout Season

LOS ANGELES — The impressive preseason glimpses of Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell are just a sign of what's to come: Russell is primed for a breakout sophomore season.

As a rookie, he flashed his potential, scoring a career-high 39 points against the Brooklyn Nets. He reached the 20-point mark on 13 occasions, but over the course of the year, Russell struggled with consistency. Often overshadowed by the retiring Kobe Bryant and shuffled in and out of the starting lineup by former head coach Byron Scott, Russell scored in single digits 27 times, finishing the season with an average of 13.2 points per night while shooting 41 percent from the field. 

While he justified the Lakers' decision to select him second overall in the 2015 NBA draft, he averaged just 3.3 assists per game, nearly matched by 2.5 turnovers.

"My mentality is just way different this year. I have more of a business-like approach to everything I do," Russell said. "Getting that one year of experience under my belt, I know what I'm capable of."

The Lakers replaced Scott with new head coach Luke Walton, who spent the last two years in Golden State with the Warriors as an assistant to Steve Kerr. Comparing the 20-year-old Russell to two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry is premature, but Walton brings an offensive system with him that is favorable to a lead guard with a deft shooting touch.

After a quiet preseason debut against the Sacramento Kings, Russell scored 54 points in 56 minutes while hitting eight of 15 three-point attempts in consecutive games against the Denver Nuggets. His 33 points during Sunday's 124-115 victory came on 13-of-19 shooting.

Russell is still searching for balance between his playmaking duties and scoring, but Walton has given his young guard the green light to look for his own shot.

"At this level, there's a fine line of doing what the coaches want and ...

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